bims-pideca Biomed News
on Class IA PI3K signalling in development and cancer
Issue of 2024‒01‒07
seventeen papers selected by
Ralitsa Radostinova Madsen, MRC-PPU

  1. Chem Sci. 2024 Jan 03. 15(2): 683-691
      Class I phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) control cellular growth, but are also essential in insulin signaling and glucose homeostasis. Pan-PI3K inhibitors thus generate substantial adverse effects, a reality that has plagued drug development against this target class. We present here evidence that a high affinity binding module with the capacity to target all class I PI3K isoforms can facilitate selective degradation of the most frequently mutated class I isoform, PI3Kα, when incorporated into a cereblon-targeted (CRBN) degrader. A systematic proteomics study guided the fine tuning of molecular features to optimize degrader selectivity and potency. Our work resulted in the creation of WJ112-14, a PI3Kα-specific nanomolar degrader that should serve as an important research tool for studying PI3K biology. Given the toxicities observed in the clinic with unselective PI3Kα inhibitors, the results here offer a new approach toward selectively targeting this frequently mutated oncogenic driver.
  2. Mol Cell. 2024 Jan 04. pii: S1097-2765(23)01028-6. [Epub ahead of print]84(1): 17-19
      Ebner et al.1 discovered a nutrient-dependent molecular feedback circuit that employs mTORC1, lipid kinases, and phosphatases to generate phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate [PI(3)P] or phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate [PI(4)P] in a mutually exclusive manner on lysosomes, which respectively convert lysosomes into organelles that support anabolism or catabolism.
  3. bioRxiv. 2023 Dec 14. pii: 2023.12.13.571465. [Epub ahead of print]
      Base editing enables generation of single nucleotide variants, but large-scale screening in primary human T cells is limited due to low editing efficiency, among other challenges 1 . Here, we developed a high-throughput approach for high-efficiency and massively parallel adenine and cytosine base-editor screening in primary human T cells. We performed multiple large-scale screens editing 102 genes with central functions in T cells and full-length tiling mutagenesis of selected genes, and read out variant effects on hallmarks of T cell anti-tumor immunity, including activation, proliferation, and cytokine production. We discovered a broad landscape of gain- and loss-of-function mutations, including in PIK3CD and its regulatory subunit encoded by PIK3R1, LCK , AKT1, CTLA-4 and JAK1 . We identified variants that affected several (e.g., PIK3CD C416R) or only selected (e.g. LCK Y505C) hallmarks of T cell activity, and functionally validated several hits by probing downstream signaling nodes and testing their impact on T cell polyfunctionality and proliferation. Using primary human T cells in which we engineered a T cell receptor (TCR) specific to a commonly presented tumor testis antigen as a model for cellular immunotherapy, we demonstrate that base edits identified in our screens can tune specific or broad T cell functions and ultimately improve tumor elimination while exerting minimal off-target activity. In summary, we present the first large-scale base editing screen in primary human T cells and provide a framework for scalable and targeted base editing at high efficiency. Coupled with multi-modal phenotypic mapping, we accurately nominate variants that produce a desirable T cell state and leverage these synthetic proteins to improve models of cellular cancer immunotherapies.
  4. Nat Chem Biol. 2024 Jan 02.
      Cellular context is crucial for understanding the complex and dynamic kinase functions in health and disease. Systematic dissection of kinase-mediated cellular processes requires rapid and precise stimulation ('pulse') of a kinase of interest, as well as global and in-depth characterization ('chase') of the perturbed proteome under living conditions. Here we developed an optogenetic 'pulse-chase' strategy, termed decaging kinase coupled proteomics (DeKinomics), for proteome-wide profiling of kinase-driven phosphorylation at second-timescale in living cells. We took advantage of the 'gain-of-function' feature of DeKinomics to identify direct kinase substrates and further portrayed the global phosphorylation of understudied receptor tyrosine kinases under native cellular settings. DeKinomics offered a general activation-based strategy to study kinase functions with high specificity and temporal resolution under living conditions.
  5. Mol Metab. 2024 Jan 03. pii: S2212-8778(23)00197-7. [Epub ahead of print] 101863
      OBJECTIVE: The insulin/IGF superfamily is conserved across vertebrates and invertebrates. Our team has identified five viruses containing genes encoding viral insulin/IGF-1 like peptides (VILPs) closely resembling human insulin and IGF-1. This study aims to characterize the impact of Mandarin fish ranavirus (MFRV) and Lymphocystis disease virus-Sa (LCDV-Sa) VILPs on the insulin/IGF system for the first time.METHODS: We chemically synthesized single chain (sc, IGF-1 like) and double chain (dc, insulin like) forms of MFRV and LCDV-Sa VILPs. Using cell lines overexpressing either human insulin receptor isoform A (IR-A), isoform B (IR-B) or IGF-1 receptor (IGF1R), and AML12 murine hepatocytes, we characterized receptor binding, insulin/IGF signaling. We further characterized the VILPs' effects of proliferation and IGF1R and IR gene expression, and compared them to native ligands. Additionally, we performed insulin tolerance test in CB57BL/6J mice to examine in vivo effects of VILPs on blood glucose levels. Finally, we employed cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) to analyze the structure of scMFRV-VILP in complex with the IGF1R ectodomain.
    RESULTS: VILPs can bind to human IR and IGF1R, stimulate receptor autophosphorylation and downstream signaling pathways. Notably, scMFRV-VILP exhibited a particularly strong affinity for IGF1R, with a mere 10-fold decrease compared to human IGF-1. At high concentrations, scMFRV-VILP selectively reduced IGF-1 stimulated IGF1R autophosphorylation and Erk phosphorylation (Ras/MAPK pathway), while leaving Akt phosphorylation (PI3K/Akt pathway) unaffected, indicating a potential biased inhibitory function. Prolonged exposure to MFRV-VILP led to a significant decrease in IGF1R gene expression in IGF1R overexpressing cells and AML12 hepatocytes . Furthermore, insulin tolerance test revealed scMFRV-VILP's sustained glucose-lowering effect compared to insulin and IGF-1. Finally, cryo-EM analysis revealed that scMFRV-VILP engages with IGF1R in a manner closely resembling IGF-1 binding, resulting in a highly analogous structure.
    CONCLUSIONS: This study introduces MFRV and LCDV-Sa VILPs as novel members of the insulin/IGF superfamily. Particularly, scMFRV-VILP exhibits a biased inhibitory effect on IGF1R signaling at high concentrations, selectively inhibiting IGF-1 stimulated IGF1R autophosphorylation and Erk phosphorylation, without affecting Akt phosphorylation. In addition, MFRV-VILP specifically regulates IGF-1R gene expression and IGF1R protein levels without affecting IR. CryoEM analysis confirms that scMFRV-VILP' binding to IGF1R is mirroring the interaction pattern observed with IGF-1. These findings offer valuable insights into IGF1R action and inhibition, suggesting potential applications in development of IGF1R specific inhibitors and advancing long-lasting insulins.
    Keywords:  IGF-1; IGF1 receptor inhibition; IGF1receptor; Iridoviridae; Viral insulin/IGF-1 like peptides (VILPs); biased signaling; insulin
  6. Sci Data. 2024 Jan 04. 11(1): 27
      A wealth of proteogenomic data has been generated using cancer samples to deepen our understanding of the mechanisms of cancer and how biological networks are altered in association with somatic mutation of tumor suppressor genes, such as TP53 and PTEN. To generate functional signatures of TP53 or PTEN loss, we profiled the RNA and phosphoproteomes of the MCF10A epithelial cell line, along with its congenic TP53- or PTEN-knockout derivatives, upon perturbation with the monofunctional DNA alkylating agent methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) vs. mock treatment. To enable quantitative and reproducible mass spectrometry data generation, the cell lines were SILAC-labeled (stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture), and the experimental design included label swapping and biological replicates. All data are publicly available and may be used to advance our understanding of the TP53 and PTEN tumor suppressor genes and to provide functional signatures for bioinformatic analyses of proteogenomic datasets.
  7. PLoS Biol. 2024 Jan;22(1): e3002453
      To achieve a stable size distribution over multiple generations, proliferating cells require a means of counteracting stochastic noise in the rate of growth, the time spent in various phases of the cell cycle, and the imprecision in the placement of the plane of cell division. In the most widely accepted model, cell size is thought to be regulated at the G1/S transition, such that cells smaller than a critical size pause at the end of G1 phase until they have accumulated mass to a predetermined size threshold, at which point the cells proceed through the rest of the cell cycle. However, a model, based solely on a specific size checkpoint at G1/S, cannot readily explain why cells with deficient G1/S control mechanisms are still able to maintain a very stable cell size distribution. Furthermore, such a model would not easily account for stochastic variation in cell size during the subsequent phases of the cell cycle, which cannot be anticipated at G1/S. To address such questions, we applied computationally enhanced quantitative phase microscopy (ceQPM) to populations of cultured human cell lines, which enables highly accurate measurement of cell dry mass of individual cells throughout the cell cycle. From these measurements, we have evaluated the factors that contribute to maintaining cell mass homeostasis at any point in the cell cycle. Our findings reveal that cell mass homeostasis is accurately maintained, despite disruptions to the normal G1/S machinery or perturbations in the rate of cell growth. Control of cell mass is generally not confined to regulation of the G1 length. Instead mass homeostasis is imposed throughout the cell cycle. In the cell lines examined, we find that the coefficient of variation (CV) in dry mass of cells in the population begins to decline well before the G1/S transition and continues to decline throughout S and G2 phases. Among the different cell types tested, the detailed response of cell growth rate to cell mass differs. However, in general, when it falls below that for exponential growth, the natural increase in the CV of cell mass is effectively constrained. We find that both mass-dependent cell cycle regulation and mass-dependent growth rate modulation contribute to reducing cell mass variation within the population. Through the interplay and coordination of these 2 processes, accurate cell mass homeostasis emerges. Such findings reveal previously unappreciated and very general principles of cell size control in proliferating cells. These same regulatory processes might also be operative in terminally differentiated cells. Further quantitative dynamical studies should lead to a better understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of cell size control.
  8. Sci Adv. 2024 Jan 05. 10(1): eadi3664
      Sculpting the epigenome with a combination of histone modifications and transcription factor occupancy determines gene transcription and cell fate specification. Here, we first develop uCoTarget, utilizing a split-pool barcoding strategy for realizing ultrahigh-throughput single-cell joint profiling of multiple epigenetic proteins. Through extensive optimization for sensitivity and multimodality resolution, we demonstrate that uCoTarget enables simultaneous detection of five histone modifications (H3K27ac, H3K4me3, H3K4me1, H3K36me3, and H3K27me3) in 19,860 single cells. We applied uCoTarget to the in vitro generation of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) from human embryonic stem cells, presenting multimodal epigenomic profiles in 26,418 single cells. uCoTarget reveals establishment of pairing of HSPC enhancers (H3K27ac) and promoters (H3K4me3) and RUNX1 engagement priming for H3K27ac activation along the HSPC path. We then develop uCoTargetX, an expansion of uCoTarget to simultaneously measure transcriptome and multiple epigenome targets. Together, our methods enable generalizable, versatile multimodal profiles for reconstructing comprehensive epigenome and transcriptome landscapes and analyzing the regulatory interplay at single-cell level.
  9. bioRxiv. 2023 Dec 16. pii: 2023.12.15.571738. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a multi-system genetic disease that causes benign tumors in the brain and other vital organs. The most debilitating symptoms result from involvement of the central nervous system and lead to a multitude of severe symptoms including seizures, intellectual disability, autism, and behavioral problems. TSC is caused by heterozygous mutations of either the TSC1 or TSC2 gene. Dysregulation of mTOR kinase with its multifaceted downstream signaling alterations is central to disease pathogenesis. Although the neurological sequelae of the disease are well established, little is known about how these mutations might affect cellular components and the function of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We generated disease-specific cell models of the BBB by leveraging human induced pluripotent stem cell and microfluidic cell culture technologies. Using these microphysiological systems, we demonstrate that the BBB generated from TSC2 heterozygous mutant cells shows increased permeability which can be rescued by wild type astrocytes and with treatment with rapamycin, an mTOR kinase inhibitor. Our results further demonstrate the utility of microphysiological systems to study human neurological disorders and advance our knowledge of the cell lineages contributing to TSC pathogenesis.
  10. Mol Biol Cell. 2024 Jan 03. mbcE23070294
      Fibrosis is a major, but incompletely understood, component of many diseases. The most common vision-disrupting complication of cataract surgery involves differentiation of residual lens cells into myofibroblasts. In serum-free primary cultures of lens epithelial cells (DCDMLs), inhibitors of either ERK or of ErbB signaling prevent TGFβ from upregulating both early (fibronectin) and late (αSMA) markers of myofibroblast differentiation. TGFβ stimulates ERK in DCDMLs within 1.5 h. Kinase inhibitors of ErbBs, but not of several other growth factor receptors in lens cells, reduce phospho ERK to below basal levels in the absence or presence of TGFβ. This effect is attributable to constitutive ErbB activity playing a major role in regulating the basal levels pERK. Additional studies support a model in which TGFβ-generated reactive oxygen species serve to indirectly amplify ERK signaling downstream of tonically active ErbBs to mediate myofibroblast differentiation. ERK activity is in turn essential for expression of ErbB1 and ErbB2, major inducers of ERK signaling. By mechanistically linking TGFβ, ErbB, and ERK signaling to myofibroblast differentiation, our data elucidate a new role for ErbBs in fibrosis and reveal a novel mode by which TGFβ directs lens cell fate.
  11. Curr Genomics. 2023 Dec 12. 24(4): 250-262
      Background: Phosphatase and tensin homolog, widely known as PTEN, is a major negative regulator of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway, involved in the regulation of a variety of important cellular processes, including cell proliferation, growth, survival, and metabolism. Since most of the molecules involved in this biological pathway have been described as key regulators in cancer, the study of the corresponding genes at several levels is crucial.Objective: Although previous studies have elucidated the physiological role of PTEN under normal conditions and its involvement in carcinogenesis and cancer progression, the transcriptional profile of PTEN has been poorly investigated.
    Methods: In this study, instead of conducting the "gold-standard" direct RNA sequencing that fails to detect less abundant novel mRNAs due to the decreased sequencing depth, we designed and implemented a multiplexed PTEN-targeted sequencing approach that combined both short- and long-read sequencing.
    Results: Our study has highlighted a broad spectrum of previously unknown PTEN mRNA transcripts and assessed their expression patterns in a wide range of human cancer and non-cancer cell lines, shedding light on the involvement of PTEN in cell cycle dysregulation and thus tumor development.
    Conclusion: The identification of the described novel PTEN splice variants could have significant implications for understanding PTEN regulation and function, and provide new insights into PTEN biology, opening new avenues for monitoring PTEN-related diseases, including cancer.
    Keywords:  Phosphatase and tensin homolog; alternative splicing; cytogenetic; long-read sequencing; splice variants; tumor suppression
  12. Nucleic Acids Res. 2024 Jan 05. 52(D1): D1210-D1217
      The Catalogue Of Somatic Mutations In Cancer (COSMIC),, is an expert-curated knowledgebase providing data on somatic variants in cancer, supported by a comprehensive suite of tools for interpreting genomic data, discerning the impact of somatic alterations on disease, and facilitating translational research. The catalogue is accessed and used by thousands of cancer researchers and clinicians daily, allowing them to quickly access information from an immense pool of data curated from over 29 thousand scientific publications and large studies. Within the last 4 years, COSMIC has substantially expanded its utility by adding new resources: the Mutational Signatures catalogue, the Cancer Mutation Census, and Actionability. To improve data accessibility and interoperability, somatic variants have received stable genomic identifiers that are associated with their genomic coordinates in GRCh37 and GRCh38, and new export files with reduced data redundancy have been made available for download.
  13. Cell. 2023 Dec 27. pii: S0092-8674(23)01339-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cells self-organize molecules in space and time to generate complex behaviors, but we lack synthetic strategies for engineering spatiotemporal signaling. We present a programmable reaction-diffusion platform for designing protein oscillations, patterns, and circuits in mammalian cells using two bacterial proteins, MinD and MinE (MinDE). MinDE circuits act like "single-cell radios," emitting frequency-barcoded fluorescence signals that can be spectrally isolated and analyzed using digital signal processing tools. We define how to genetically program these signals and connect their spatiotemporal dynamics to cell biology using engineerable protein-protein interactions. This enabled us to construct sensitive reporter circuits that broadcast endogenous cell signaling dynamics on a frequency-barcoded imaging channel and to build control signal circuits that synthetically pattern activities in the cell, such as protein condensate assembly and actin filamentation. Our work establishes a paradigm for visualizing, probing, and engineering cellular activities at length and timescales critical for biological function.
    Keywords:  AM/FM single-cell reporters; digital signal processing; protein condensates; protein oscillations; reaction-diffusion systems; spatiotemporal signaling circuits; synthetic biology
  14. Mol Biol Cell. 2024 Jan 03. mbcE23080298
      Cell Painting assays generate morphological profiles that are versatile descriptors of biological systems and have been used to predict in vitro and in vivo drug effects. However, Cell Painting features extracted from classical software such as CellProfiler are based on statistical calculations and often not readily biologically interpretable. In this study, we propose a new feature space, which we call BioMorph, that maps these Cell Painting features with readouts from comprehensive Cell Health assays. We validated that the resulting BioMorph space effectively connected compounds not only with the morphological features associated with their bioactivity but with deeper insights into phenotypic characteristics and cellular processes associated with the given bioactivity. The BioMorph space revealed the mechanism of action for individual compounds, including dual-acting compounds such as emetine, an inhibitor of both protein synthesis and DNA replication. Overall, BioMorph space offers a biologically relevant way to interpret the cell morphological features derived using software such as CellProfiler and to generate hypotheses for experimental validation.
  15. J Biol Chem. 2024 Jan 03. pii: S0021-9258(23)02648-0. [Epub ahead of print] 105619
      Protein kinase-B (Akt) and the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathways are implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology. Akt/mTOR signaling pathways, activated by external inputs, enable new protein synthesis at the synapse and synaptic plasticity. The molecular mechanisms impeding new protein synthesis at the synapse in AD pathogenesis remain elusive. Here we aimed to understand the molecular mechanisms prior to the manifestation of histopathological hallmarks by characterizing Akt1/mTOR signaling cascades and new protein synthesis in the hippocampus of WT and APP/PS1 male mice. Intriguingly, compared to those in WT mice, we found significant decreases in pAkt1, pGSK3β, pmTOR, pS6 ribosomal protein, and p4E-BP1 levels in both post nuclear supernatant and synaptosomes isolated from the hippocampus of one-month-old (presymptomatic) APP/PS1 mice. In synaptoneurosomes prepared from the hippocampus of presymptomatic APP/PS1 mice, activity-dependent protein synthesis at the synapse was impaired and this deficit was sustained in young adults. In hippocampal neurons from C57BL/6 mice, downregulation of Akt1 precluded synaptic activity-dependent protein synthesis at the dendrites but not in the soma. In three-month-old APP/PS1 mice, Akt activator (SC79) administration restored deficits in memory recall and activity-dependent synaptic protein synthesis. C57BL/6 mice administered with an Akt inhibitor (MK2206) resulted in memory recall deficits compared to those treated with vehicle. We conclude that dysregulation of Akt1/mTOR and its downstream signaling molecules in the hippocampus contribute to memory recall deficits and loss of activity-dependent synaptic protein synthesis. In AD mice, however, Akt activation ameliorates deficits in memory recall and activity-dependent synaptic protein synthesis.
    Keywords:  APP/PS1; Activity-dependent protein synthesis; Alzheimer’s disease; Dementia; Synaptic plasticity; Synaptosomes
  16. Commun Biol. 2024 Jan 05. 7(1): 26
      Malignant melanoma is the most aggressive and deadly skin cancer with an increasing incidence worldwide whereas SCC is the second most common non-melanoma human skin cancer with limited treatment options. Here we show that the development and metastasis of melanoma and SCC cancers can be blocked by a combined opposite targeting of RhoA and p110δ PI3K. We found that a targeted induction of RhoA activity into tumours by deletion of p190RhoGAP-a potent inhibitor of RhoA GTPase-in tumour cells together with adoptive macrophages transfer from δD910A/D910A mice in mice bearing tumours with active RhoA abrogated growth progression of melanoma and SCC tumours. Τhe efficacy of this combined treatment is the same in tumours lacking activating mutations in BRAF and in tumours harbouring the most frequent BRAF(V600E) mutation. Furthermore, the efficiency of this combined treatment is associated with decreased ATX expression in tumour cells and tumour stroma bypassing a positive feedback expression of ATX induced by direct ATX pharmacological inactivation. Together, our findings highlight the importance of targeting cancer cells and macrophages for skin cancer therapy, emerge a reverse link between ATX and RhoA and illustrate the benefit of p110δ PI3K inhibition as a combinatorial regimen for the treatment of skin cancers.
  17. Development. 2024 Jan 01. pii: dev201955. [Epub ahead of print]151(1):
      Cell-cell interactions are central to development, but exploring how a change in any given cell relates to changes in the neighbour of that cell can be technically challenging. Here, we review recent developments in synthetic biology and image analysis that are helping overcome this problem. We highlight the opportunities presented by these advances and discuss opportunities and limitations in applying them to developmental model systems.
    Keywords:  Cell-cell interactions; Image analysis; Neighbour labelling; SynNotch; Synthetic signalling